For Russia, control of the coronavirus narrative is designed to ensure President Vladimir Putin continues to be cast as the guarantor of security, as well as to prevent mass panic that could lead to political destabilisation.
Governments and military planners are obsessed with how much leverage adversaries can exert with coercive measures that don’t risk all-out war. But to win in the ‘grey zone’ requires being proactive, and defining its limits.
Through his clampdown on corruption, dissent and relative freedoms, Chinese President Xi Jinping has alienated various groups within society. However, in the absence of a serious economic downturn and a rift within the Party’s leadership, discontent is unlikely to unseat him for the foreseeable future.